Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Wow, after typing out the name of this banana bread, I realize it’s such a mouthful! Even though this recipe has a long name, it’s still worth making, trust me. It was hot this weekend (surprise, surprise) and after my friend went home to Boston, I was on a panel about book publishing at a conference in the financial district. The conference was great, but after schlepping through FiDi in the pounding heat, the last thing I wanted to do was spend the afternoon outside. This is where banana bread comes into play. During the week I make a lot of smoothies either for breakfast, or after working out in the evening, so I keep a lot of fruit (both fresh and frozen) on hand at all times. I think the heat in my apartment made my bananas ripen much quicker than normal so I had to do something with them.

I decided to make a banana bread with brown butter, modified from Joy the Baker’s recipe, and love the results! The banana bread is a lot more dense than other variations I’ve made and the flavor of the brown butter really comes through. I hope you all have some fun weekend plans! I’m heading to Western Massachusetts with my family for an outdoor excursion. ūüôā

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 cup of butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup¬†coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana (from about 3 medium bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or more depending on how chocolately you want your bread to be!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and coconut milk.  Whisk in the mashed bananas and molasses.  When butter has cooled, add in the browned butter.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients.  Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to reveal any hidden pockets of flour.  Add in chocolate chips and stir.

Pour batter into pan.   Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap well for 4 days at room temp or freeze!

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Review: Egg Shop NYC

One of the great things about having a blog is that you can literally do whatever you want with it. Thus, I am using this blog to channel my inner (and not-so-secret) dream of being a restaurant and food critic. So, here goes!

Over the weekend my friend Caroline came to visit from Boston. I’ve been wanting to go to Egg Shop for a while, ever since I saw drool-worthy photos popping up on my Instagram page, but the brunch wait is insane (trust me, another friend and I tried to go last weekend and it was a fail). Since I had a summer Friday, and Caroline was working from my apartment and then taking a half-day, we thought that Friday afternoon would be the perfect time to go. Turns out, we were correct! Egg Shop, located in the Lower East Side, was still pretty crowded but we were able to squeeze into two seats along the window.

Scanning the Egg Shop menu, you’ll notice that it’s broken down into two sections: sandwiches and cruisers (which are bowls). After much debate, Caroline and I decided to go with the Cruiser section and both ordered El Camino, a bowl with a poached egg, avocado, tomato, pulled pork, a fried tortilla, and cilantro. Now I realize that if we were true critics, we would have ordered different items to try them each out but it’s not my fault we were both starving and El Camino immediately caught our attention! In addition, we split a buttermilk biscuit with honey butter and I ordered a black ice tea. You can see another picture of the whole ensemble on my Instagram. I may have discussed this before, but biscuits are basically my guilty pleasure (ok, non-guilty), so if I see one on any menu, or in life, I must eat it. There is nothing better than a buttery, fluffy, and flaky biscuit in my book.

The El Camino cruiser was on point! Although I have to admit when it first came out I thought it looked a bit small. I hadn’t ordered a second poached egg. However, once I dug in, it was evident that this bowl was going to be extremely filling, and I barely finished the last few bites. The flavors were so clean, with the savory and juicy pork, smooth avocado, sweet tomatoes, and fresh cilantro that added some more brightness. I thought that the poached egg was cooked to runny perfection and I loved that I could kind of stir everything together and each bite was different. Plus, the fried tortilla was broken up into long strips, making for some satisfying crunchiness. Delicious. ALSO, I haven’t even mentioned the glory that was the buttermilk biscuit with honey butter. First of all, it was SO BIG and not shaped like a traditional round biscuit. This biscuit was super crunchy on the outside, yet still fluffy and moist on the inside. Caroline and I were slathering on as much butter as would fit on a single piece and shoving it into our mouths. I wished that it would never end.¬†The main thing I love about Egg Shop is the atmosphere. It’s a very tiny venue but at the same time it’s open and airy, with white walls, floor to ceiling windows, and super cool light fixtures. The whole place seemed to be buzzing! Egg Shop is definitely a place I want to come back to and try everything else on the menu and now that I’ve had the food, I’m convinced that the wait during the popular brunch hour is totally worth it.

Coconut Berry & Honey Popsicles

Funny story – I ordered popsicle molds on Amazon almost two months ago and totally forgot about them until they showed up in the mail last week! It’s been HOT the past few weeks in New York so it’s actually perfect timing. I’ve been seeing beautiful pictures of popsicles everywhere lately on Instagram so I wanted to try my own hand in making some. These popsicles, made with fresh blueberries and raspberries are so refreshing, and the tanginess of the berries is offset nicely with the creamy coconut milk. So yummy and I’m looking forward to having one as my after work snack. I hope everyone has a great week!

Coconut Berry & Honey Popsicles

Makes 6 popsicles

-1 can full-fat coconut milk
-1/4 cup + honey
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 1/2 cups blueberries and raspberries, rinsed and drained
-pinch salt

In a bowl, combine coconut milk, 1/4 cup honey, salt, and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.

In a blender, puree berries, then pour through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds. You can use the back of a spoon or spatula to press the berry pulp and seeds against the strainer to help extract all of the liquid. Discard the seeds. Add 1/2 cup of the coconut milk mixture and 1 tablespoon honey to the strained berries mix together well.

Pour alternating layers of the coconut milk mixture and the berry mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for about 30 minutes, then insert sticks and freeze until firm.

Coney Island

And yet another item is crossed off my summer bucket list! Last Friday I went to Coney Island with my friend, Kate who was visiting from out of town. It was a very interesting¬†experience to say the least. Immediately I was shocked at how huge it was. I had thought that Coney Island was just a couple rides and a beach, but the rides were endless. It was also so packed in the amusement park area, but really empty in an area that was full of semi-outdoor arcades. The rides also seemed really expensive! Isn’t an amusement park ride supposed to be like $2.00? I hate amusement parks so I guess I’m not up to speed on the typical prices. We did check out the two iconic rides though – the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel and they were kind of cool! It’s crazy how old they each are, yet they are still fully functioning.

Afterwards we went to the original Nathan’s hot dog stand and I got a fried chicken sandwich (don’t worry, Kate got a hot dog). We walked along the boardwalk, looking over the beach and it was kind of nice with the breeze, although I don’t think I could ever imagine going to the beach there because it was so crowded. There is also this area right on the beach that’s sort of like a jungle gym, but there are grown shirtless men all around working out. They were doing pull-ups, and other exercises on the equipment. Apparently it’s called Muscle Beach, which I thought was hilarious. I’m so glad I finally made it out to Coney Island – I can’t say that I’ll be back frequently, but it was awesome experiencing¬†a corner of the city that I never see.

Peach & Blueberry Pie

I’ve officially started checking off some of the items on my Summer bucket list! Hopefully I can get to them all (or most of them!). First and foremost, I finally made a pie from scratch. For my first attempt at ever making pie crust, I thought it went really well and came out great. Making the crust was really simple. I found that the most important thing was to have all the ingredients prepared beforehand and to work fast so that the butter stayed cold. Making sure you have cold butter is the most important thing about making a crust – cold butter ensures that the crust will come out flaky. My Peach and Blueberry pie was super delicious (especially when served warm with a scoop of ice cream!) and I’m now inspired to try some other recipes with different fillings.

Peach & Blueberry Pie

Pie Crust (I modified Bon Appetit’s Best Ever Pie Crust Recipe):

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

SERVINGS: MAKES 2 PIE CRUSTS (ENOUGH DOUGH FOR 1 DOUBLE-CRUST PIE, 1 LATTICE-TOPPED PIE, OR 2 SINGLE-CRUST PIES)

  • 2 1/2¬†cups¬†unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2¬†teaspoons¬†sugar
  • 1¬†teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1¬†cup¬†(2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5¬†tablespoons¬†(or more) ice water

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add 5 tablespoons ice water and mix with fork until dough begins to clump together, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough together. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into disk. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pie crust can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. If necessary, soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.

Filling:

  • 1.5 pounds (about 6) of white peaches
  • .5 pounds of fresh blueberries (can vary based on how much of each you want to add
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Milk

Pit peaches and cut into chunks. Add blueberries and mix in sugar, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice. Lightly toss together and pour into the bottom crust.

After pie crust top is on (whichever design you want to do), brush the crust with milk.

Bake pie at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45 to 60 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Cool to warm and serve.

Thoughts on a Monday

Wow, the weekends always seem to fly by! The hydrangeas that I brought back from the yard in Cape Cod died, which seemed to signify that it was time to get out of vacation mode and back to real life.

Last Thursday I went to La Birreria at Eataly for the first time. The rooftop is so cool! I love going to Eataly just to browse around because it makes me feel like I’m back in Rome (where I studied abroad). My weekend was pretty relaxing too. I went to the farmer’s market near my apartment and then met up with my friend for brunch at Rintintin. Afterwards, I strolled aimlessly around the West Village with some other friends who were in town from Boston for the weekend. The heat has finally arrived in full force in NYC and it’s SO HUMID!! I was drenched in sweat after about five minutes.

It was nice having nothing to do this weekend, since in August I’m going to be traveling almost every weekend. Exciting news – I booked a trip to Oregon in mid-August to visit my cousin who lives out there. I’m so excited to explore Portland, the Oregon coast, the mountains, and the Columbia River Gorge. I’ve been able to do some planning for that over the past couple days, and I also started watching Chef’s Table on Netflix, a documentary series about chefs around the world. I highly recommend if you’re interested in cooking!

Here are some more interesting discoveries from the past week:

– “Why Women Apologize and Should Stop” from the New York Times. Unfortunately, I’m exhibit A of this problem, and since reading this article I’ve made a concerted effort to stop saying sorry to people, whether it’s my friends, co-workers, or random people. Why should I say sorry for not doing anything wrong? I hear women saying this to people all the time (particularly men) and it’s something we need to start thinking about.

– “Secrets of the Ring Road: Iceland’s Epic Road Trip“. I’ve been wanting to go to Iceland for a while and am hoping to plan a trip for next summer. This article only validates why I must go!

Huckleberry Shrub recipe from Bon Appetit. I’ve never heard of shrubs, which apparently are fruity vinegars made from berries that can be mixed with seltzer or a drink. Definitely a recipe I’d like to try soon.

– “Yes,¬†Animals Can Think and Feel” from National Geographic. I’m a huge animal lover and this article is fascinating!

Harry Potter logic puzzle. Enough said.

– “30 Recipes that Reduce Kitchen Waste” from Food52. When I’m cooking I’m a huge waster of food. These recipes made me realize exactly what I’m wasting and what can be done with the food I’m throwing out.

– “The Difference Between $200 Jeans and $20 Ones” from Refinery 29. I went through a jean phase¬†a couple years ago when I bought a lot of expensive jeans. Since then I haven’t really been doing that and I just buy something on sale or jeans from Urban Outfitters. This article breaks down exactly what you’re getting/not getting depending on how much you pay for jeans and was really insightful.

– “Ultimate Road Trips” from National Geographic. Featuring a ton of cool places I had never even heard of! Plus one of the trips is in Oregon.